Some times you need to take a break from the city and what better way to spend your weekend then taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings outside of the city limits. Check out the beautiful coastlines, stunning waterfalls and native bush that Auckland's region has to offer.
Rangitoto Island Summit Walk
One of the best and most famous walks in Auckland is climbing Rangitoto Island, one of 53 volcanoes which can be found in Auckland. The shorter and most popular route to the summit takes an hour but make sure to take the slight detour to check out the island's breathtaking lava caves. Once you reach the summit you're reward is spectacular 360-degree views reaching across the Hauraki Gulf.
Hunua Falls Track
Only a 45 minute drive from the city, this easy 3-4 hour walk takes you to beautiful waterfall and swimming holes. With it's beautiful lush bush surrounding this walk it become a popular track and great for a day out. There are also some smaller 30min tracks if you would prefer to spend the day picnicking.
Coast to Coast Walk
One of the few places in the world where you can walk from one ocean to another. This unique walk takes you from one coast of New Zealand to another, taking in many of the city's volcanoes, and traditional Maori sites and colonial history. But though the walk takes about five hours you will have plenty of opportunities to stop for lunch at one of the numerous cafes along the way as you walk changes from the city to suburbs and urban parks.
This walk may need a bit longer than a weekend to complete with options for 2, 3 or 4 days hiking option and some level of fitness. Open since 2010 it takes through the Waitakere Ranges and follows a variety of terrains and scenery. Stunning views include the rugged West Coast beaches, magnificent native bush including the hundreds of year old native Kauri Trees.
North Shore Coastal Walk
This walk begins at Long Bay Beach and weaves 23km through the beaches and suburbs all the way out to Devonport. Though the whole trail is 7 hours there is still plenty of places to stop for lunch or take a bus back if you only want to complete part of the walk. This is also a great one to do in summer with plenty of chances to take a swim at one of the sandy beaches along the way.
Tamaki Drive Walk
Take in the beauty of Auckland's stunning harbour with a stroll along Tamaki Drive. It is an easy 2 hour walk but leave time to take a detour up to Bastion Point or grab a coffee, or even a cheeky ice cream. It's also a chance to take in the lovely beaches of St Heliers, Kohimarama, and Mission Bay.
In New Zealand we are lucky to have some of the best hiking trails as well as beautiful untouched landscape. But sometimes you want to see something different, explore somewhere new, and this list is full of inspiration of where you can hike around the world.
1. Inca Trail, Peru
One of the most popular hikes in the world and though it may take you through 26 miles of grueling inclines and declines it is worth it for the scenery and of course Machu Picchu. What other trail gives you the chance to explore ruins, jungle and beautiful mountain scenery.
2. Everest Base Camp Trek
Not everyone has it in them to hike Everest's summit but more and more people are taking up the challenge of Everest's base camp. Not only do you get the unique opportunity to experience the culture and the people that make their home at these elevations but also come face to face with the Earth's highest point. The hike takes three weeks to complete and you will traverse valleys and mountains in order to bask in the unique and beautiful scenery.
3. Trek to Petra
Considered one of the best hikes in the Middle East, this trek takes you through gorges, ridges, and rocky terrain. And at the end of it all is the chance to see The Kingdom of Petra, making the 7 day hike across the desert worth it to explore the temples and tombs of this fascinating city.
4. Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile
Ten days of immense scenery along Chile's number one hiking destination lets you experience the real wonders of the South American Continent. This route is hugely popular during the summer months, 800-1000 people are on the trail every day taking in the volcanic peaks, glaciers, and beautiful lakes.
5. Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine
One of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, spanning over 14 states, this hike will truly test your trekking skills like no other American trail. The great part though, is that you can brave the entire length of the trail or choose chunks to explore more easily.
6. Kungsleden, Sweden
Also known as The King's Trail, this 275 mile hike traverses untouched European country, and in the winter becomes a ski trail. See the amazing Arctic landscape, open tundra, big glaciers, and brush up against Sweden's highest peak, Mount Kebnekaise.
7. Pacific Crest Trail, California
Trek through 7 National Parks and numerous national forests, state parks, and wilderness areas on this hike. Start your tramp through the hot, dry Mojave Desert and explore along the way the Forester Pass between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as well as the Cascade Volcanoes in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
8. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Although this may not be the longest trail being only 35km long, it is still known for being dangerous as well as spectacular. This coastal hike takes you along steep trails and tropical heat as you trek through amazing jungle, beautiful waterfalls, and explore the mile-long arc of Kalalau Beach.
9. Tour du Mont Blanc, France
Circling Mont Blanc, this is one of the most special hiking experiences as you travel through three different countries and over several mountain passes. Discover the Alps and circumnavigate Mount Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, as well as meadows teeming with blossoms and impressive peaks and glaciers.
10. The Long Range Traverse, Canada
Take the trail less followed as this hike takes you to a land that seems untouched as you use your map and a compass to journey through the wilderness. There are no trails here and makes for an unforgettable experience of exploring Canada's back country and camping with the local moose and caribou. The trail is filled with untouched beauty and every bend reveals another wonder, coastal fjords, granite cliffs tower, and animal paths leading to hidden lakes.
11. Sierra High Route, California
This trail runs parallel to the John Muir Trail and is more challenging but shows off the Best of California's High Sierra. Route-finding skills are required for this hike as part of it will be scrambling over peaks and ridgelines sans trails all while exploring the national parks. Highlights include Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, John Muir Wilderness, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Devils Postpile National Monument, and Yosemite National Park.
12. Fitz Roy Trek, Argentina
This trek ensures glorious views of Patagonia that cannot be experienced unless you take this trip on Fitz. This hike takes you through Los Glaciares National Park, which is the size of Delaware and gives you views of beech forests, open plains, glaciers, waterfalls, and the iconic Fitz Roy Massif.
13. Cinque Terre National Park
Not only is this trek filled with stunning scenery but also the most iconic Italian villages. This hike takes you along the Italian coast as you travel through five Italian towns filled with gelato coloured houses all pile up along the rocky coastline.
14. Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia
While exploring the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, you'll experience solitude, untouched terrain, and an array of landscapes including highland mountains, rain forest, alpine lakes, and eucalyptus groves. This is also a chance to get up close to Australia's unique wildlife including wombat and Tasmanian devils as you get out to the remote wilderness of Tasmania's Outback.
14. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
A widely popular trek, even though it's at 19,340 feet and Africa's highest peak more and more adventurers are taking up the challenge. With a wide range of climbing routes, most travel with a guided tour to reach the spectacular view above the clouds.
It may of been more than a century ago since the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 but if you are a history buff now is your time to relive it in Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory.
Visit Skagway, Alaska
Many of the Cruise ships dock in Skagway on the northeastern tip of the Inside Passage, just like the many steamships that transported gold-hungry prospectors from Pacific Northwest ports in the late 19th century. Today the town retains some of its 19th century charm with shops and bars in vintage style and original buildings.
Hike the Old Prospector Trail
You can relive some of the original journey that gold rush seekers would of had to do on foot, heading up north from Skagway. Parts of the original trail can be done on the Chilkoot Trail (which requires preparation and a permit from the National Park Service) or parts of the White Pass Trail.
Explore Dawson City, YT
The heart of the Klondike Gold Rush was in Dawson City, where $29 million worth of gold passed through. At it's peak the town was dubbed the "Paris of the North," for its vibrant community. Though it is no longer in it's heyday it still has an old, wild west charm to it and a popular place to experience it is Diamond Tooth Gerties. It was a former community gathering space-turned-retro-gambling hall, where one can still drink and gamble while watching a cancan girl show, as prospectors did more than a century ago.
The dogs were an integral part of cargo transportation during that time and still remain an important part of Dawson City today. There are plenty of places in the Yukon and Alaska to try dog sledding or for a real dogsledding spectacle check out the Iditarod, which takes place from Anchorage to Nome each March.
See Chicken, AK
While a lot smaller than Dawson City, the town of Chicken (population between 17 and 37 people) oozes with quirky charm. Chicken has remained an active mining town since the Klondike Gold Rush and has also become a tourist attraction when people are passing between Fairbanks and Dawson City to buy souvenirs and eat the famed chicken pot pie.
Visit Dredge No. 4
This National Historic Site near Dawson City is a big pull for history buff with much of the big metal gears still remain in what was once the largest wooden hulled dredge in North America. While gold is no longer dredged and processed here, the old industrial mining site is still impressive.
Look for Gold at the Discovery Claim
The Discovery Claim near Dawson City is where the whole Klondike Gold Rush began, when prospectors Skookum Jim, Dawnson Charlie, and George and Kate Carmack struck gold on August 17, 1896. The area is now open to the public for gold panning at Bonanza Creek, provided you have your own gear. Otherwise the Klondike Gold Fields in Skagway is always a good stop for tourist panning.
The wildlife of Alaska is diverse and abundant, they even have their own "Big 5" of famous animals that everyone should try and tick off their list. When you are next travelling to Alaska make sure to take a tour, for your chance to glimpse some of these amazing creatures.
Alaska contains 98% of the US Brown Bear Population and they also contain a large number of Black Bears. Brown Bears are a more common sight with them found through out the state while Black Bears are more rare but they can come in a few different shades of colours such as black, brown, cinnamon and even a rare blue shade. Though Bears may be considered a nuisance to the locals, anyone visiting would love to catch a glimpse of the Brown Bear or the much smaller Black Bear.
The Alaskan subspecies of Moose is the largest in the World and though there is an abundance of them in the state, the population is still controlled by natural predators such as bears and wolves, as well as hunters. But because of their numbers Moose are a common sight, and are often seen feeding and grazing along the State's highways.
Though the rest of the world may call them Reindeer, the Alaskan's only refer to domesticated Caribou as Reindeer. They are generally found in tundra and mountain regions, where there are few trees and are large-scale migratory animals, known to travel up to 50 miles a day. Though the Alaskan Natives depend on Caribou for food there are still an estimated 950,000 in the State.
There are two subspecies of Wolves in Alaska, the Northwestern Wolf and the Arctic Wolf. Wolves are found throughout the mainland of Alaska and most of the major islands of the southeast. The Arctic Wolves are less common but the Northwestern Wolf can be seen throughout the state and there is approximately one wolf per 25 square miles. In recent years there has been efforts to control the wolf population but it has been a source of controversy in the State.
5. Dall Sheep
Dall Sheep live, rest and feed all in the rocky terrain and steep, inclined land of the mountain regions of Alaska. Sometimes they are seen below their usually high elevation but only when their food is scare otherwise they will be avoiding predators and humans up high. Alaska contains a good size population of Dall sheep, and they are commonly sighted in the eastern and western sides of Denali National Park.
Alaska is known for its pristine waters which produces some of the most remarkable seafood in the USA. If you have a chance to visit this beautiful state don't miss out discovering the tasty local seafood.
Simon & Seafort's Saloon & Grill, Anchorage
This iconic restaurant has been open since 1978 and known by the locals as Simon's. It is positioned to overlook Mount Susitna, Cook Inlet and the Alaska Range creating a beautiful panoramic view while you dine on high-quality seafood.
The Bamboo Room Restaurant, Haines
For a more homey small-town diner try the Bamboo Room, where you will find the most juicy and fresh halibut fish and chips in town. To top it all off, wash it down with a beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company for the real local experience.
The Bubbly Mermaid Oyster Bar, Anchorage
If you are a fan of oysters then you shouldn't overlook this one. This small and cozy restaurant offers oysters straight from Alaskan waters, and they also have some of the best and freshest seafood found anywhere in Anchorage. Oysters are available either raw or baked and can be ordered in a dozen different preparations.
Hanger on the Wharf, Juneau
With a great location overlooking the Juneau's seaplane harbour, it's time to unwind while eating through Hanger's huge selection. They had an extensive menu, from king crab hand rolls to halibut tacos as well as 100 beers available.
Orso is all about being local, with their fresh seafood only from Alaskan Waters as well as vegetables all grown in the nearby Matanuska Valley. They have an expansive selection of delicious seafood and grilled meats, including halibut, cod, salmon, rockfish, king crab and many others.
Hot Bite, Auke Bay
Since the 80s this restaurants has been a popular spot for locals to grab some juicy buffalo burgers and halibut cheek sandwiches with cusabi (cucumber and wasabi dressing). You will find this place away from the cruise crowds a few miles north of Juneau in a small pink building.
Southside Bistro, Anchorage
This vibrant eatery is known for it's generous portions of seafood, with their popular White Prawns and Kodiak Scallops a highlight on their menu. Not only do they offer great seafood but they also earned a reputation for offering one of the most delicious 8-oz Filet Mignos in Anchorage.
Sandbar and Grill, Juneau
For that authentic dive bar atmosphere then look no further than the Sandbar where it's all about the local fish with no frills. For some mouthwatering classics try the halibut burger and the fresh halibut fish and chips.